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Packers sign XFL punter, waive Benjie Franklin

Daniel Whelan, born in Ireland, was originally a Rugby player.

St Louis Battlehawks v DC Defenders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Yesterday, it was reported that the Green Bay Packers had been awarded former Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins offensive lineman D.J. Scaife. On Wednesday, the Packers made that transaction official, along with a couple of other moves.

Scaife, per the Packers’ press release, is officially going to be listed as a center — despite the fact that he played right tackle and right guard for the Hurricanes before signing an undrafted rookie free agent deal with the Dolphins this offseason. Scaife will join starter Josh Myers, swingman Zach Tom and 2020 sixth-round pick Jake Hanson at the center position for camp.

The Packers also signed punter Daniel Whelan, who most recently spent time with the D.C. Defenders of the XFL. Whelan spent two months with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free-agent rookie in 2022 after his run in college at UC Davis. The Irish product was named All-XFL this spring and gives Green Bay a backup punter behind Pat O’Donnell.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, Whelan originally began his sports career in soccer and rugby until a coach asked him to play football as a high school junior after his family had moved to the states. He also kicks off, which is an uncommon trait for punters.

To get the roster under the 91-man limit that the Packers have this offseason, Green Bay elected to release cornerback Benjie Franklin, who was signed to the team’s practice squad for six weeks in 2022 after starting his career as an undrafted free agent for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After Week 6, Franklin was let go but was re-signed to the roster on a reserve/futures deal after the regular season.

The cornerback position has now cleared up a bit heading into organized team activities, as 2021 fifth-round pick Shemar Jean-Charles, 2023 seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine, special teamer Corey Ballentine, practice squadder Kiondre Thomas, CFL signing Tyrell Ford and William Hooper — who had a successful rookie tryout with the team — will fight for the final one or two spots at the position this summer.